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ESA’s Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA) is a future X-ray telescope to be launched in 2031. It is the second large class mission within the European Space Agency Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The aim of ATHENA is the science of the Hot and Energetic Universe, especially the study of the emission from hot plasmas, the search for missing baryons, and the study and evolution of the large scale structure and black holes (

(Image Credit: MPE and ATHENA Team)

ATHENA will carry two detectors, the Wide Field Imager (WFI) and the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU). Our team is part of both instrument consortia, performing simulations with the SIXTE end-to-end simulator developed at the Remeis Observatory.


Wide Field Imager (WFI)

The Wide Field Imager is a newly developed DEPFET detector, whose development is lead by the Max Planck institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Munich. The WFI detector consists of 4 large detector chips, allowing for a large field of view (40′ x 40′) and a fast chip to observe bright X-ray sources. More details on the detector development can be found on the official MPE page here:



X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) 

The X-ray Integral Field Unit is a microcalorimeter array using the technology of Transition Edge Sensors (TES) at sub-Kelvin temperatures in order to achieve an unprecedented energy resolution of 2.5 eV at X-ray energies up to 7 keV. The official webpage gives more details on the science and the hardware development: